Spent part of today with a friend who is a legislative fellow on the Hill for Senator "Really-I'm-a-Democrat" Lieberman (D-CT) and who had tickets for a staff-led tour of the Capitol.
But first, we had breakfast at the Eastern Market and did a little shopping in the farmer's market. Got some fabulous yellow tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus, and cantaloupe. Also looked at some flowers for around the yard, but couldn't settle on anything.
Part of the Eastern Market includes a flea market on the other side of 7th Street and an arts and crafts market adjacent to the farmer's market. There was one artist--an African American man--who was selling some vibrant depictions of New Orleans. I actually found his clothing to be the most interesting part of his exhibit. He was wearing his paint clothes and his sweatshirt alone was a mosiac of colors from the rainbow that had a Monetesque quality to them. I found his sweatshirt so intriguing, I started to ask him, "Are you for sale?" but caught myself, managed to sauvely recover and actually ask, "You are... Is your sweatshirt for sale?" He seemed not to notice my almost disasterous, non-P.C. gaffe. Or, if he did, he was gracious about it and simply chuckled and said, "Not today." (I remember walking away and thinking, "I can't believe I--a white woman--almost asked a black man--in a market--if he was for sale!" It was horrifying and humbling, to say the least.)
But, getting back to my friend and his Capitol tickets... We left the market and walked the eight blocks to the Capitol where we sauntered past the line of tourists, through security, and into the Capitol where said friend gave us a tour. (While we were there, we saw Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont giving some friends/constituents a tour.) Part of our tour included a walk through the Brumidi Corridors where we saw the restoration work going on there.
Brumidi, an Italian, was part of the Roman Civic Guard in Rome during the reign of Pope Pius IX. He participated in a coup against the pope and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He received an early release but only on condition that he emigrate to America, which he gladly did.
Brumidi painted the Apotheosis of Washington in the dome of the Capitol, as well as most of the frieze encircling the inside of the dome. In addition to these pieces, he also painted a variety of pieces depicting the flora and fuana of the United States. It is these pieces, in the Brumidi Corridors, that are being restored. Part of the restoration involves peeling away layers of old paint with a scalpel one coat at a time.
At one point, I said, "Wow! Can you imagine how tedious this work must be?" To which, my friend's wife turned to me and said, "Hey! This would be the perfect job for you. You're tedious and this is tedious work. What could be better?"
I think I'll apply on Monday!